Monday, December 4, 2017

Voyager Spacecraft Fires Up Thrusters for First Time Since 1980

Article Written By: Kyle Tam


Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScl)
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScl)
 NASA scientists have recently fired up the thrusters on the Voyager 1 Spacecraft - the farthest spacecraft from Earth - in an effort to reorient its antenna towards Earth.
 Originally, scientists would have used the attitude control thrusters aboard the spacecraft to make the adjustments, however these have been wearing out during the voyage. Instead, NASA scientists tried using Voyager's 'trajectory correction maneuver' thrusters, located on the back side of the spacecraft.
 Since these hadn't been fired in 27 years, engineers were thrilled when they received an answer 19 hours and 35 minutes later that the four thrusters had worked perfectly.
 "The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test. The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all," said Todd Barber, a propulsion engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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